Wizards of spin Kuldeep and Chahal set up series win
Visakhapatnam — Spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal picked up three wickets each to set up a comfortable eight-wicket win for India against Sri Lanka in the deciding third and final one-day international (ODI) in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.
The wrist-spinners scythed through the Sri Lankan batting order to bundle them out for 215 in under 45 overs after the touring side made a blazing start.
The hosts, who won the three-Test series 1-0, breezed to their target with almost 18 overs to spare to secure their eighth series victory in a row in the 50-over format.
Stand-in captain Rohit Sharma, filling in for the rested Virat Kohli, fell for seven to off-spinner Akila Dananjaya but Shikhar Dhawan remained unbeaten on 100 to guide India home.
Dhawan added 135 for the second wicket with Shreyas Iyer and an unbroken 70 with Dinesh Karthik, who finished on 26 not out. The left-handed opener reached his 12th ODI 100 in 84 balls, hitting 13 fours and two sixes.
Playing his third ODI, Iyer compiled his second successive half-century before he was out for 65, his knock including eight fours and a six.
After Rohit won the toss and opted to field fearing the evening dew would make it difficult for his spinners to grip the ball, Sri Lanka lost opener Danushka Gunathilaka for 13.
But former captain Upul Tharanga launched a brutal counterattack on the Indian quicks, smashing all-rounder Hardik Pandya for five successive boundaries in his second over. Tharanga hit 12 fours and three sixes in his 83-ball 95 to give Sri Lanka a strong platform and shared a second-wicket stand of 121 with Sadeera Samarawickrama.
Leg-spinner Chahal broke the stand when Samarawickrama was out caught at deep cover for 42.
Left-armer Kuldeep, who took 3/42, then struck twice in one over to dismiss Tharanga and Niroshan Dickwella, who was out after hitting the spinner for two fours.
Chahal, who finished with 3/46, compounded Sri Lanka’s problems by spinning one past Angelo Mathews’s bat, with the right-handed batsman stunned by the amount of turn generated by the leg-spinner to bowl him.
From being 136/1 in 22 overs and looking set to post a tough target for India, Sri Lanka completely lost their way with the bat.